It appears the direction some software giants are trying to move in is that of the "Virtual PC." Imagine a time when your PC is no longer a tangible thing. Your PC, or personal computer, is just a collection of data (emails, documents, music, pictures) that is stored on some network of servers in a building 10,000 miles away. All you have to do is find any computer with a web browser, and you have access to your entire life.
Many techno-worriers believe that this is an evil, invasive model. And while it's true that if a company has the most intimate details of your life on their servers, they hold a great deal of power, and potential for misconduct. I, however, being a lover of all things technical, don't hold this same idea.
I believe that companies like Google, are trying to do a number of different things by virtualizing your PC, but fraud is not one of them. If you consider the potential benefits of Google having all of your information, most of them pretty standard business ideas. For example, if Google has all of your information, they have the most complete demographic profiling capabilities in probably the entire world. They can charge top dollar for people to advertise on their sites, because they know exactly what you, as a consumer, are looking for on a day to day basis. They also have unlimited control regarding where they push those ads on you.
Another point is that if Google turns your PC into an idea, rather than a box, they are taking the power away from the computer hardware, and traditional software companies of the world, and putting it into the hands of the online software companies, the world that Google rules. "Why do I need a brand new desktop PC with Windows Vista, when all of my stuff runs awesome on my 5 year old XP computer?"
I am all for it. I think it's great that when I see an ad in my Gmail account, it's going to be perfectly tailored to what I am looking for. I love the idea that I will able to have all the same productivity on my 5 year old laptop for free that I would on a brand new desktop, loaded with the $500 copy of MS Office.
My only question is, now that I have seen Google Mail, Docs, Spreadsheets, and Pics, where is Google Money? I could really use some free budgeting software right now . . .
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